Rev John Norton Vine (1842-1881)

By Tim Banks

John Norton Vine was born at Hull in July 1842. He was the brother of hymn writer Alfred Henry Vine (1845-1917) and son of Rev John Vine (1813-1871). 

Having decided to follow Jesus at the age of 17, Vine entered the Wesleyan Methodist Ministry in 1865, training at Richmond College. 

In 1869, Vine was called as a character witness in the trial of ‘The Gentleman Highway Robber’, medical student, Charles Trevor who armed with a loaded pistol 'did assault and feloniously steal from Blanche Perkins'. 

J Norton Vine married Florence Wilmhurst Gribbon in 1874. The couple’s children were: Alfred Bertram, Eardley Norton, Annie. 

As a Circuit Minister, Vine’s Conference describes him as being ‘remembered for his sermons, which to many people were like draughts of pure spring water in their good sense, good taste, fresh thought; for his large Christian Spirit and for his visits’. 

Vine was Financial Secretary of the Bedford and Northampton District of the WM Church. It was at District’s annual Committee meetings held in 1881 at Leighton Buzzard that Vine was taken ill. John Norton died on 27 May 1881. The Bedfordshire Times described Vine’s ministry as ‘highly valued in every Circuit favoured by his residence.’ The newspaper also stated that ‘He was a superior scholar, a good preacher and a diligent pastor. Among his ministerial brethren he was known as a genial, kindly colleague and brother.’ 

Vine was stationed in the following Circuits:

Croydon

Cambridge

Oxford

Isle of Wight

Ampthill

Bedford St Mary 

Sources:

Dictionary of Methodism – entry for Alfred Henry Vine

My Wesleyan Methodist History – list of Wesleyan Methodist Ministers

Freebmd

Cambridge Chronicle and Journal 18 December 1869

Bedfordshire Times and Independent: 28 May, 4 and 25 June 1881

Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linslade Gazette: 31 May 1881

Minutes of WM Conference 1881

This page was added by Tim Banks on 27/07/2015.

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